iPhones for Robots

There is a continually accelerating trend in the world today, although fairly obvious, most people probably haven’t really come to grips with it. The improvements of automated technology have made more and more jobs obsolete, and this is just the beginning. The trend seems to be on an exponential path, and yet the main stream media seems to not make mention of it.

A long time ago, in the era of my grandfather, people were once employed to make the elevator go up and down, and telephone operators were needed to connect you to other people. These days of course other than you pressing some buttons, both the elevators and phones are completely automated. Are you old enough to remember when you used to have to go see a real live human bank teller to get your money out of the bank?

Farming has of course gone through similar transitions, the amount of work done by many dozens of people can now be done faster by a sole driver of one machine, and even that one driver could be replaced by a self driving vehicle these days.

Automated Farming

Over the years, most people who used to work on the farm, have moved to the city to get work, no longer do they work to supply society with their needs, but spend most of their waking life creating documents which eventually get stuffed into filing cabinets where no one will ever read them again, or pushing some kind of product on the consumer.

Just as most farming jobs have become obsolete, the same type of thing has been going on with manufacturing jobs, as the robots are improving, the jobs they can do are getting more complex, in fact people are no longer needed in the modern factory at all, with today’s technology entire cars can actually be made by robots via 3D printing.

Though it took a long time to produce the plans for the first car, they can now be print out one after the other, 24 hours a day, with no sick days or holidays. The first car took forty-four hours to print, which may seem like a while, but imagine thousands of 3D printers going at the same time.

You might think that all the manufacturing of 3D printers would be lots of work for humans, however the printers amazingly enough, can replicate themselves, or even make larger or smaller versions of themselves, who then again can scale upwards or downwards.

In theory you can now order a car from a website, and it could then drive itself right to your house to pick you up. No human needed.

The same thing of course is going on with every other manufacturing business from clothing to iPhones. Even the age old job warfare is being replaced by robots

Rather than shopping malls, and sales clerks, websites now sell products, and robots can sort and ship them.

Once pretty much all these jobs are taken by robots, then there are of course no need for managers, accountants, bookkeepers, or really any office job at all. The robots just need to be told once what to do, and away they go. Nothing to manage there. The selling, and management of the sales, money transfers, tax and everything else can all be handled by computers.

So what exactly would a human be needed for in the ultra modern world then? Other than the initial deigning of new products, not very much. Although currently over seventy percent of jobs seem to be of no use to society anyhow.

The old idea was that for every bit of automation we created, from washing machines to vending machines we could all enjoy more free time, that the machines would continually free us from the menial task of daily life and create paradise. However most people these days who do have work, are working harder and longer than ever just to keep a roof over their heads.

As most of the once important blue collar jobs become obsolete, people are being forced to move into white collar positions, but the transition is not easy for many, and they end up soon going broke, which can lead to desperation, and the desperation can lead to crime. Crime of course leads to more crime enforcement, and often jail for many.

Once all the blue collar jobs are gone, most white collar jobs will follow.

It makes me wonder if the people who rule our societies have any sort of long term plan for the future of humanity, it seems to me that they do not. In a very capitalist type of society such as the US, automating all aspects of consumerism may seem like good business sense, in the short term the profits will be immense. However as robotics continue to improve, and as 3D printers keep replicating themselves and are programmed to make more and more things. Who exactly will have a paying job to be able to afford the things they sell?

I have spoken before of my wishes for the future of society, that I believe we should have some sort of new Renaissance, and new era of art, music, entertainment and creativity, but what I didn’t realize is that at that point we were in the middle of a small one, before spring of 2012, many people could actually make a living on the internet, good writers, artists and other sorts of entertainers were able to post things on blogs and social media, which friends would share, people would read them, possibly click on an advertisement along the way, and people were rewarded for their creativity. Things were pretty good back then, however during 2011-2012, things changed, most social media website who’s stocks were publicly traded got bought up by people who had other things in mind, namely directing people to their own news websites and stores. The unedited streams of Facebook, Digg and the like became heavily edited, big business hijacked the social media, and search engine results became more Big Business oriented as well. Many popular blogs on publicly hosted blogging networks were quietly deleted by their big business friendly hosts around that time, all the writers work was lost, and many bloggers suddenly found themselves without an income, the blog sharing networks were also of course hurt, most blogging networks suffered great financial losses during this time, some of them lost the ability to use advertising from the large companies who had essentially hijacked the internet at this time, one of the biggest blogging networks of the time Blogger went out of business completely. Most internet based small businesses also disappeared around this time, or soon after.

It seems to me that in the future most jobs positions will be held by robots.

Again I ask “Who exactly will have a paying job to be able to afford the things they sell?”

In the future are they going to try and market iPhones to Robots?

Ms Mega Consumer

About a year ago now, something happened to me which shook my reality a bit, although hundreds of others also experienced this small event, for me it had a profound meaning that I will now share with you all here.

During the middle of my work week, just after lunch, I ran out of shipping envelopes, so I headed down to the local wholesaler to pick up a cool thousand 10″x14″ envelopes. Due to the distance between where I parked and the wholesaler, it was fastest and easiest for me to cut through a local shopping mall. From past experience I knew the thousand envelopes were going to weight quite a bit, so I decided that on the way back I would stop for a coffee in the mall.
Mall View
I picked up the envelopes, and carried them back to the mall’s third floor coffee shop, my muscles we’re getting tired, so when I found an empty coffee shop table next to the third floor railing of the mall’s courtyard, I dumped my envelopes in one of the chairs, went to ordered my coffee, then returned to my table to drink it.

The coffee was nice, and so was the view of the busy mall. This mall is always extremely busy, and getting more so by the day. It was a suburban mall once, but the city has grown so much over the last decade or so, the surrounding roads which were once full of houses are now full of condominiums. The population density in the area has more than doubled over the last few years, as has the population of the mall.

I people watched as I slowly drank my coffee, there were lots of people all over the place, many had a bag or so in their arms. There were people on laptops in the coffee shop, some with friends, some that looked to be on dates, and then there was this one table that I couldn’t quite figure out. Sitting at this table there was what seemed to be a very well off lady, drinking her coffee, she was just beyond middle age, well made up, with a designer haircut, about 5 ft 5 inches tall, and 180 pounds. The lady was very nicely dressed in what I would assume to all be all new designer clothing, she wore a blue floral dress, designer shoes, lots of jewelry, and polished leather high heals. She seemed very relaxed, I would guess she was wealthy enough she didn’t need to work, this was mid day after all. The man who sat with her did not have a drink of his own and was not dressed so extravagantly, from the look of him, I assumed he was probably living on an income below the poverty line, his clothing looked plain, old, but looked clean and ironed, he had no jewelry that I could see. He was about 5 ft 8 inches tall, thin, in his early 30s, and fit. They did not look at each other or talk. The couple finished just moments before I did, so my thousand envelopes and I ended up following them out of the coffee shop.
Other than the physical differences between the two, I saw some other very obvious clues as to who they might be. While the lady was obviously leading the man, as she carried what seemed to be a very expensive designer purse. The man was following and carrying about fifteen designer brand name shopping bags, fanning out from his hips, which I would assume had just been purchased. I reasoned this man was an employee of the woman, brought with her on these shopping trips possibly as a driver, and then due to the fact that the woman bought more clothing that it looked like she could carry, he was her porter as well. The way this all played out, this looks like a common event for the two. It is possible that this woman never wore the same clothing twice, and maybe did not even wear some items once.

This particular mall had five stories to it, and conveniently at the front of the mall, there were four floors of escalators all facing the same direction with about a 20 ft gap between the top of one escalator, and the bottom of another. The up escalators lined up with the next up escalators, and the down with the down. Due to the efficiency of this design, not to mention the huge population of the shopping mall, I could not imagine just how many thousands of people that this row of escalators moved during a normal day, however at this there were at least 200 people using them, as well as another hundred or so queued on the islands between the escalators.

Just as this lady and guy reached the extremely busy center of the third floor island between escalators, something happened, this lady just figured out that she didn’t know where she wanted to go next. So she stopped, as did her servant. This was of course an immediate problem for the hundreds of people who were being pushed onto the already full escalator island by the up and down escalators. A lone person would have caused some inconvenience in such a place, but this wide girthed lady together with her servant and the 15 bags of clothing, were taking up the space of about five or so people.

A human traffic jam began almost immediately, things like this happen from time to time, so I expected the woman would figure out what was happening, and leave the busy area to let others past, but she seemed completely unaware of what was going on around her. As she put her finger to her lip for some harder thinking about what to do next, the man with the bags was looking around a bit worried at all the trouble they were causing, he looked to the lady, which he stood behind, but did not say anything to her, he seemed to be uncomfortable at the thought of informing her. People tried to force themselves by, but the population of the island was growing fast. After a few more seconds, I became scared, I was afraid that the escalator machinery’s continuous push of people both up and down from this spot was soon going to crush, injure and kill many people. I had a pain in my stomach about this possibility, and it seemed the man with the bags was concerned about this as well, I could see from his quick glances around that he was fully aware of what was going on, but his master was not, she stood there a while longer, it was getting very bad on the island, very dangerous, then she took her finger down from her lip, and walked back the way she came, not taking the escalator after all. Possibly she was not yet done shopping for the day.
Shopping mall escalator
I stood out of the way for a bit while the crowd died down, then took the escalator down to where I would get in my car.

As I was driving home I kept thinking about the incident, it had caused quite a bit of stress to me at the time, and it went over and over in my head…. you see what really bothered me about this situation, other than the possible horror this woman had almost caused to the other people in the mall, was that this shopaholic, slow thinking, ignorant woman was the boss to the man who carried her bags. She was the one that had the money, she was the one that was calling the shots here, yet the man who served her was obviously a hard worker of higher intelligence.

If this was truly a modern darwinistic world where the hard working and intelligent people were supposed to rise to the top, it would seemed far more logical that she should be following him, not the other way around.

How exactly did this lady have so much money, and therefore so much power over others?

I thought later of all the things she had just bought, all the people that needed to serve her in the stores, all the cotton farming, the picking, sewing, and delivery needed. The petroleum used for her bags has likely been fought over in wars causing people to lose their lives, not to mention the environmental destruction which goes along with it, the raw oil gets shipped and refined, processed and shipped again etc, the things she had bought had taken up enormous amounts of manpower, and were constructed from raw materials that came from all over the world. Yet she might only wear it once ? If that.

I can hear the average news watching economists saying “But, But, she creates jobs!”. However, she doesn’t really create jobs, what she creates is work, tons of it, and she creates environmental damage, and in this instance she created trouble. Maybe if someone wasn’t slaving away in the factory for her, they could be doing something better for someone else.

How much of humanities manpower is spent on this woman and people like her? How much work do we all need to do to support shopaholics? How much work does she do for society? From the looks of her, I would guess she takes countless millions of manpower work in her life, and probably gives zero in return.

The strangest part of this coming from me, a retailer, is that she would be my ideal customer, as much as I did not want her in front of me at the mall, people like her are what I need for my business survive. In fact I was out buying envelopes to serve consumers just like her in the first place. My lifestyle depends on shoppers and improves with over shoppers.

But how come she was in charge? How come all these hard working human beings need to serve her?

Does that seem right to you?

I hope one day soon, all the world’s shopaholics might find something better to do with their time, then all the poor workers who served them can take a well deserved break.

You Say You Want A Revolution

A few years back now, out of the blue, I received a phone call from a former female workmate that I had not heard from in quite a while. It seems that this friend, Anne, had actually sought out my number from a mutual friend of ours who we both occasional went out for a few drinks with. I had been quite friendly with Anne back in the day, but after I left my job as a teacher at the school we both worked at, we did not keep in touch.

A couple of days after new years we made plans to meet up for dinner at a lakeside restaurant near both our houses, the dinner was nice, there was more food than I could eat, we laughed after dinner and downed a beer each. When the bill came Anne insisted on paying for it, and asked me back to her place.

Once arriving at her place, she brought us each a drink, and began asking about my work as a website developer and promoter, I opened up this website for her, to have a look at, she liked it. Then she mentioned that she wanted to start a website of her own, a blog, and the purpose of this blog was to start a new French revolution(she was french). She wanted me to set this up for her, and was willing to pay me for it.

“A revolution” I said, “if we started a revolution people would get hurt, normal people would face danger, buildings might burn, and there would be nothing but suffering. I used to try and change the world, but I realized the transitions were often too long and painful to benefit the people who would take part in it.”

“I don’t care” she said, “something needs to be done, these A-holes that run the country (France) need to be stopped, and only a revolution can stop them, we all need to stand up and take the country for the people, toss the crooks out of office!”

“Yes”, I said “but the people who are burned out of their houses will be more inconvenienced than the people tossed out of the offices, not to mention those injured or hospitalized during the revolution. I won’t be part of causing so much long term suffering.”

“I don’t care,”she said, “it needs to be done.”

2014 Hrushevskoho Street riotsThe conversation was laid to rest, we had another drink, she played some music for me, and I played some music for her. She did not care for my music, and let me know with quite a bit of vigor, apparently my taste in music was the same as her ex husband’s, so that flagged me as an A-Hole to her. I felt like I was overstaying my welcome, and soon made my way out. I called her in a couple of days, but she did not return my call. I am not sure exactly what the evening was about, at some parts it felt a bit like a date, and others it was a job proposition.

Although I am all for the idea of making a positive change in the world, I would not help an angry person such as her become the leader.

I’ve heard it said that hope was the cause of most pain in the world. The whole “Fight Today For A Better Tomorrow” was the main reason that some countries seemed to always be burning in some parts of the world. They say war is a result of too much national optimism, and if people could just try and make today a better today, the world would be a better place. There are a few exceptions, but mostly I agree with this point of view.

I heard this song the other day and it made me think of this story, I am sure you have heard it before, I posted the lyrics below so you can read through it.


You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright, al…

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You’d better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright

The Fish In The Sea

On a mostly unremarkable morning a few years back, as I was walking from my house down my street, there was a chance meeting which would change my life for many years to come.

The sun was shining brightly that day, it’s light was painful on my halve awaken eyes, so I gazed mostly downwards to escape the glare. As I walked along, focused on the concrete just ahead of me, I almost missed her standing there on the side of the road. She was looking at me, openly staring at me with her big beautiful golden brown eyes. I looked directly back at her and she didn’t look away, in fact for a moment I though she was going to take a step towards me, but she didn’t. I smiled and passed her by without a word.

As the day went by, I wished I had said something. The cool guys in movies always had the perfect things to say, and they said them without any delay, they controlled every situation, and always got the outcomes they desired. I wished I could be cool like that, I wished I could be that guy, but I am not that guy. I am me. If I saw her again, the next time I would say Hello.

Several days passed before I would see her again. She was standing almost at the same place I had seen her before, in front of a home quite similar to my own. I wondered if she lived there, if she lived with anyone, and mostly if she already had someone to love.

“Good Morning” I said to her, and that is how it all started. It may not have been the words of a cool guy in a movie, but that is how it started, those words are what led into these last few years of companionship, daily physical contact, happiness, contentment and love.

After some time, she moved in with me, I cared for her, we sat together during the day, and slept together at night, things were very good. Until one day it was not good anymore.

One day I came home to an empty house, which happens from time to time, and I called her. Normally my calls were always answered, I would find out where she was, and she would return to me soon after, but on this day for the first time in our many years together, after my many repeated calls, there was still no response. I could imagine no positive reason for her not responding. What would keep her from me? I mean she must want to be with me just as much as I want to be with her, so what on earth could be stopping her. I was worried she might not be able to get to me for some reason, possibly she was injured and suffering, or maybe even dead. I did not hear from her for three days, I did not sleep well, and was constantly depressed. I asked around if anyone had seen her, and they had not.

On the fourth day since here disappearance,  I was walking down my same road again. Though the sun was not bright that day, depression was causing me to look down at the concrete as I walked, part way down the road, I heard a door open, I looked, and to my horror she stepped out. I knew this house, and it’s owner. This house was nicer than my own. The man who lived here owned a busy seafood restaurant in the neighborhood. She did not see me, and as my heart broke, I guess it left a lump in my throat, I was too choked up and overwhelmed to speak.

I imagined her pleasure at eating his seafood, happily gobbling down fish of various sorts with him watching her as she purred. How could I compete with him, in her materialistic eyes, what he had to offer would have been vastly superior to the simple dry cat food I fed her. I am sure after a good meal, she would lay out before him, as she did for me daily over these last few years.

The idea that my love could be taken away from me by this fish peddler, did not make me angry at the man, but disgusted at just how materialistic my cat was, in fact it seems that all this time she had been with me, pretending to love me, she was really just biding her time with me as she waited to trade up to someone that would give her more. This poor man would probably lose her in the future as someone with offered her fresher fish, or ultimately a man who possessed live fish might be hypnotized by her gaze, and then maybe she could live life like the princess she feels she is.

But to me she was no longer of any value, a cat selling her affection for fish, is really just nothing but a whore.

Cat Whore


After some time passed, I learned to forgive her, and we made friends again. Even though she still sleeps at his place, and eats his fish, once he is not around, she comes over to my place and lays down for me once again. I have come to the understanding, that although she wants the material things that man offers, she still can not resist my love. It is good for me this way, now I can make other cat friends, or maybe even get a new house cat of my own.

Welcome To The Machine

A few days ago I had a very strange experience, maybe not an overly unexpected one, but it was very strange just the same.

I had gone to the local shopping mall with my girlfriend to look for a new backpack and get something to eat. After a short while I found one particular bag which looked well built, and seemed to suit my needs . The bag was boasting quite an incredible guarantee, that they would fix the bag, forever, no matter what. Which I thought was fantastic because I had just worn through my second bag in the last couple of years, and having one I could really depend on, or get fixed for free would be a load off my mind.

I looked around for the sales rep and eventually found her, sitting behind the counter’s cash register, mostly out of sight, pressing virtual buttons on some sort of large tablet phone. Although this girl who was quite obviously hiding, and didn’t look like the world’s greatest employee, I thought she might have the answers I needed.

“Um, Excuse me” I said to her. “Could I ask you a few questions about this bag?”

She acknowledged me by raising her all powerful tablet tapping finger to let me know she would just be a minute, and then went back to tapping, what I assume was a message to her friend how I was rudely demanding some sort of service from her.

Tablets Everywhere

I looked to my girlfriend to give her my “WTF look” but she was also busy on her tablet phone a few steps away from me, and seemed to have no comprehension of what was going on here in the store.

The sales rep came over to me, and I walked her over to the bag I was interested in, then asked her if they would really replace the bag and repair for free. She said “Yes”, then went immediately back to the discussion on her tablet, slowly walking away from me. I wanted to ask her if I would bring it there for the repair, if it covered abuse, and whether or not I would need my receipt for the repair, with the knowledge that the thermal receipts in this store would be unreadable in a year, but she was already on her way back to sitting out of sight behind the cash register.

I decided to look around for someone else to help me, and I found much of the same nearby around the bag area, employees sitting down, hiding behind shelves, and various other things, all typing away on their tablets. Weird I thought, looking around from where I was standing I could see about twenty people or so, mostly clerks hiding, what seemed to be a manager, but also five or six other customers, and every single one of them, all of them including a couple of people walking, and my girlfriend, were pressing on the screen of their tablets. It was weird, like I was some sort of ghost or something, like we all were ghosts to one another, there was no vocal talking, eye contact or traditional socializing going on between anyone at all. Some people even had headphones on, satisfying not just their sight, and touch, but hearing as well.

I called to my girlfriend “Babe… Babe…” but she kept tapping away “Honey!” she looked up a second. “Put your phone away a minute, please.”

“Sec” she said and typed a bit more before lowering the phone a few inches. “What” she said

“Look around” I instructed her

She looked around a bit and said “What?”

“Look at everyone, every single person here is tapping away on their phone.”

She acknowledged it, then started to go back to her phone. I started to feel a bit worried about this, like it was a serious addiction for most people, including my girlfriend, I was worried about her, and humanity, and also feeling a bit alone.

I demanded she put the phone away or I would not buy her dinner, she did so, and I again pointed out the one hundred percent smart phone users around us.

We began to walk out of the store, which though filled with people, was completely silent except for the sound of our feet as they hit the ground, and the store music.

We left the store and proceeded to make our way to the restaurant for dinner, both of us were busy looking around to see if there was anyone NOT on their smartphones. There were some, but it was a small minority. Most people were sitting around pressing on their phones on the benches in the mall, but there were also many people walking down the halls, at a slow uneven pace, pressing on the phone as they went, blocking the progress of the two of us, who lacking a phone in our faces, were fully aware of our surroundings and traveling faster than the tablet users around us.

“Look at those two” I said, pointing out a couple, “walking all over the place slowly, and halve mindedly as they press on the phones, they have no more brainpower being used on their surroundings, or any more coordination than zombies.”

Mall Zombies

“Zombies” my girlfriend giggled.

There were many tablet zombie near collisions in the halls of the mall as we walked, and we even saw one couple of zombies collide head on, though at zombie speed I don’t think anyone can really get hurt.

“It’s scary” I said. “It’s a zombie apocalypse.”

As we went to the restaurant the people working at the restaurant were not on their smartphones, as well as most of the people eating, I felt like I was in a sort of reality bubble, but outside the windows more than sixty percent of all the people we saw were zombies. Scary stuff.

Have you looked up from your smartphone in public recently to see how many zombies are around you?

Although this song is not quite about becoming a smart phone zombie, it is the song I was thinking of while I looked at the zombie apocalypse around me.

Crank it up and enjoy.

Pink Floyd “Welcome To The Machine”(1975)

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

Where have you been? It’s alright we know where you’ve been.

You’ve been in the pipeline, filling in time,

provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.

You bought a guitar to punish your ma,

And you didn’t like school, and you know you’re nobody’s fool,

So welcome to the machine.

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

What did you dream? It’s alright we told you what to dream.

You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar,

He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar.

So welcome to the machine.

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